Tokens, Medals, and Tickets

This guide is dedicated to tokens, tickets, and medals created for Chuck E. Cheese's, Showbiz Pizza Place, and related restaurants. The differences between tokens, medals, and tickets are listed below.

 

Token – any privately issued (as opposed to government issued) metal object used to obtain Tokengoods or services.

Medal – any metal object that commemorates an event or place, or given as a prize, but not Medal used to obtain goods or services.

 

Ticket – any privately issued paper object used to allow admission to a place or event, or used Ticket to obtain goods (redemption tickets).

There are two types of tokens in this guide, game tokens and promotional tokens. Game tokens were required to play arcade games, and promotional tokens were used to redeem free game tokens (sometimes requiring a certain food purchase).

There were/are two types of tickets used at CEC and SPP. Game tickets are awarded to players of certain arcade games, and used to redeem prizes at the merchandise counter. Promotional tickets were/are given out at special events, schools, and to people participating in a special CEC promotional activity. This site focuses on tickets given to individuals that are not discount–price in nature (i.e. coupons released to the public). All tickets on this site must be used to redeem free tokens (sometimes requiring a certain food purchase), or represent multiple tickets.

Medals are included in this guide because they look like tokens, and are of general of interest to many token collectors.

Totals

The following are the current totals for the CEC and SPP tokens, medals, and tickets.

CHUCK E CHEESE'S

Standard Issue Token Total – 268

     Type 1A (101–124) – 27 (+20*)

     Type 1B (125–186) – 66 (+53*)

     Type 2  (201–216) – 30

     Type 3  (301–328) – 71

     Type 4  (401–420) – 57

     Type 5  (501–505) – 7

     Promotional (P01–P10) – 10

*These are probably proof tokens and may not be considered standard production.

Nonstandard Issue Token Total – 19

     Altered – 17

     Experimental – 2

 

Error Token Total – 18

     CEC Error – 18

CEC Related Token Total – 8

     CEC Related – 8

CEC Medals Total – 12

     CEC Medals  (M01–M10) – 12

CEC Tickets Total– 49

     CEC Game Tickets  – 34

     CEC Promotional Tickets – 15

SHOWBIZ PIZZA PLACE

Standard Issue Token Total – 40

     Type 1 (S01) – 2

     Type 2 (S02–S13) – 35

     Type 3 (S14–S16) – 3

Nonstandard Issue Token Total – 2

     Altered – 0

     Experimental – 1

Error Token Total – 1

     SPP Error – 1

SPP Related Token Total – 15

     SPP Related – 15

SPP Tickets Total– 18

     SPP Game Tickets  – 8

     SPP Promotional Tickets – 4

     SP Related Tickets – 6

Abbreviations

These are the abbreviations used throughout the listings.

COMPOSITION ABBREVIATIONS

B = Brass

Bz = Bronze

N = Nickel Plated

C = Copper Plated  

Z = Zinc (Plated or Solid)

BI = Brass Plated Iron

NBS = Nickel Bonded Steel

W = Wood  

P = Plastic 

A = Aluminum

g = Gilt (used as a prefix)

a = Anodized (used as a prefix)

b = Black Chromate (used as a prefix)

p = Paint (used as a prefix)

IDENTIFIER SYMBOLS

"" = exact wording found on token

( ) = image found on token      

[ ] = color of plastic, anodization, paint, [ ] = or print on wooden token

{ } = identifying information not found

{ } = on token

< > = token manufacturer’s mintmark:

< > = <RWM> and <Pilgrim Hat> =               Roger Williams Mint

< > = <OC> = Osborne Coinage

< > = <HH> or <HM> = Hoffman Mint

Catalog Numbers

The catalog numbers assigned to the CEC and SPP tokens and medals on this website were created specifically for these restaurant chains. Most of the tokens listed here have corresponding standard arcade form catalog numbers created by Stephen Alpert and Kenneth Smith for their book Amusement Tokens of the United States and Canada in 1979 and later supplements.

 

The first character in a catalog number represents the type (for example, all numbers beginning with 3 are type 3 tokens.) Since tokens of different compositions have been grouped under one catalog number, each individual token uses that catalog number followed by its composition. For example, a 1977 gilt brass token would have a catalog number of 101gB. For anodized or painted tokens and medals, the color must be included in the catalog number (i.e. S09aZ[Blue])

Metals

Different metals were used to produce CEC and SPP tokens throughout the years. For the most part, solid brass tokens were the norm. With a few exceptions, every catalog number includes a brass token. Nickel and copper were sometimes used as plating, and zinc was sometimes used underneath them. There exists some nonstandard tokens that are either unplated solid zinc, or zinc plated brass. In the very early years at CEC bronze was sometimes used instead of brass. 

 

Below is a description of the color of each metal to help with identification.

Brass – bright yellow–gold color when new, and a light brown–gold color when tarnished.

Nickel – bright silver color when new, and a dull silver color after heavy circulation.

Copper – bright orange-brown when new, and a dull dark brown when tarnished.

Bronze – slightly dull gold-brown when new, and a dull medium brown when tarnished.

Zinc – dull light gray when new, and dull dark gray when tarnished. New zinc tokens can

Zinc have a slightly blue tint.

 

In the early years at CEC, some tokens were coated with gilt. These have a shimmering or sparking gold color. Sometimes nickel plated tokens and zinc tokens were anodized. Usually the color of anodization was pink, but some SPP tokens were blue, red, olive, and black. These tokens can be distinguished from painted tokens by they're perfectly even coverage and they're shiny metallic appearance. In the later years at CEC some tokens were coated with a black chromate coating. The appearance is somewhat shiny like annodized tokens.

Token Measurements

Token manufactures use inches to measure a token’s size (diameter). To allow collectors to identify token sizes using a ruler (instead of digital calipers), the approximate size in millimeters is given below. Identifying the .900 tokens can be a challenge using a ruler because their size is close to both the .880 and .915 tokens. Larger sizes used for the some of the promotional tokens and medals are not listed here.

TOKEN DIAMETER CONVERSIONS

.800in ≈ 20mm | .880in ≈ 22mm | .900in ≈ 22.5mm |

.915in ≈ 23mm .984in ≈ 25mm

TOKEN THICKNESS (IN INCHES)​

.800 tokens – .075 thick | .880/.900/.915 tokens – .068 thick |

.984 tokens – .061 thick

Die Alignment

Die alignment refers to the relative orientation of the obverse die to the reverse die. Most tokens in this catalog were intentionally struck in medallic orientation, meaning both the obverse and reverse designs are "right side up" at the same time. Some tokens, however, seem to have intentionally been struck in coin orientation, meaning that when the obverse design is "right side up" the reverse design is "upside down."

 

When the token striking mechanism malfunctions (screws become loose, or something breaks) a die can become loose and a rotation can occur. Since token production was not held at the same exacting standards as coin production, die rotation errors occurred frequently. In fact, it occurred so frequently in this collection, and to many different degrees of rotation that they cannot be listed individually in the Error Token section. It has not been demonstrated yet that these rotation errors command any premium.

 

Notes regarding die orientation are given for each type. Although it can definitively be stated that most of the Chuck E. Cheese tokens are intended to be in medallic orientation, claiming that any variety was meant to be in coin orientation is more difficult. Since die rotation is so common, and a 180-degree rotation changes the orientation of the token, it takes seeing many examples of each variety suspected to be made in coin orientation to determine intention. For now, any token listed as coin orientation is tentative.

 

As for the Showbiz Pizza tokens, it is easier to determine intention. All tokens with the "Large Letters" reverse are in medallic orientation, and any with the "Small Letters" reverse are in coin orientation.

Token Rarity

Throughout this catalog, four different levels of rarity are used. Because neither mintage numbers nor survival numbers are available, determining the rarity of a token can only be approximated. This catalog uses information from many people (some of whom have been actively collecting since Chuck E. Cheese’s opening) and eBay auction records to determine these approximate levels of rarity. Rarity levels can change as time passes.

 

COMMON

All tokens are assumed to be common unless otherwise specified. Common tokens are easily obtained through either bulk token purchases from token dealers or eBay auctions. These tokens can be found for a very minimal cost.

 

SCARCE

Scarce tokens take a little work to find. They do show up on eBay and bulk token purchases with some regularity, but not enough to be considered common. With diligence, all scarce tokens can be found at moderately reasonable prices.

 

RARE

Rare tokens can be difficult to locate. Of course, they can show up in a bulk token purchase, but the likelihood that will happen is very low. These tokens come up for sale so sparingly that when two collectors are trying to buy the token it can fetch a moderately high price. The casual collector will probably never have a rare token in their collection.

EXTREMELY RARE

These tokens are very difficult to find. These have been found in bulk token purchases in the past, but that occurring now is nearly impossible. Tokens that are unique, or among only a few to exist are in this category. You will most likely be buying an extremely rare token from another collector, and the price will be high. Many collectors are perfectly content with never owning a token in this category, while others will obsessively search for one, paying almost any price to obtain it.

Token Collection Types

Not every collector is interested in pursuing The Ultimate Set. For all but the most patient, obsessed, lucky, and wealthy completing this set is not realistic.

 

Listed below are some of the possible ways to collect Chuck E. Cheese's and Showbiz Pizza Place tokens.

 

 

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S MAJOR DESIGN SET – 6 tokens required

This set requires one Chuck E. Cheese's token (in any composition or variety) from each type (1A, 1B, 2, 3, 4, 5).

 

 

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S YEAR SET – 40 tokens required

This set requires one Chuck E. Cheese's token (in any composition, variety, or type) of each year from 1977–2016.

 

 

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S YEAR SET WITH OVERLAPPING TYPES - 59 tokens required

This set requires one Chuck E. Cheese's token (in any composition or variety) of each year from 1977–2016. There are some years in which two different types were produced. Both types in those years need to be obtained for this collection.

 

These are the overlapping years in which two types are required:

     

     1978–1982 – Types 1A and 1B

     1983 – Types 1B and 2

     1990 – Types 2 and 3

     1995–2006 – Types 3 and 4

 

 

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S COMPLETE SET WITHIN A TYPE

This set requires every Chuck E. Cheese's token listed (including all compositions) within a chosen type (excluding Promotional).

     Type 1A – 27 tokens required

     Type 1B – 66 tokens required

     Type 2 – 30 tokens required

     Type 3 – 71 tokens required

     Type 4 – 57 tokens required

     Type 5 – 7 tokens required

 

 

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S VARIETY SET – 155 tokens required

This set requires one Chuck E. Cheese's token (in any composition) of every variety (catalog number) listed.

 

 

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S COMPLETE SET – 268 tokens required

This set requires every standard issue Chuck E. Cheese's token listed (including all compositions).

CHUCK E. CHEESE'S COMPLETE SET WITH PROOFS AND ALTERED TOKENS – 434 tokens required

This set requires every standard issue Chuck E. Cheese's token listed (including all compositions) plus the proof and altered tokens listed.

 

SHOWBIZ PIZZA PLACE VARIETY SET – 16 tokens required

This set requires one Showbiz Pizza Place token (in any composition) of every variety (catalog number) listed.

 

 

SHOWBIZ PIZZA PLACE COMPLETE SET – 40 tokens required

This set requires every standard issue Showbiz Pizza Place token listed (including all compositions).

 

THE ULTIMATE SET – 474 tokens required

This set requires every Chuck E. Cheese's (including proofs and altered tokens) and Showbiz Pizza Place token listed (including all compositions).

 

If none of these collections suit your interest, make up your own. Have fun!

Copyright © 2018 by Joe Lewis